USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman answers your questions about what to do if you suspect your opponent has made up a rule.
© Garrett Ellwood
Have you ever had a dispute with a fellow player over a call on the court that you couldn’t settle? Or have you ever wondered why a certain ruling was made during a match you were watching? Maybe you’re just curious about how some scenarios, from the common to the ridiculous, are resolved.
USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman is here to answer your questions. He selects a few submissions at a time and supplies the definitive rulings through a Q&A.
Have a question of your own? Write to The Final Word!
Topic: Is this a real tennis rule?
Question from Shawn: I was recently playing doubles when our opponents hit the ball outside of our indoor court and the ball went into the hallway. I quickly ran out to find it but couldn't. I came back in to continue but one of our opponents stopped me and said we couldn't continue without the ball. She proceeded to tell me there was a 90-second rule -- that I had 90 seconds to find it or we would have to forfeit the game. My partner and I looked at each other, and we had no idea what she was talking about. Is this really the case? Then is it my fault for not finding the ball or her fault for hitting out?
KAUFMAN: Gosh Shawn, I thought I had heard every crazy made-up rule in tennis over the past 40 years. Thanks for finding me a new one and one of the more entertaining ones. I hope you did not agree to this nonsense. If so, I am sorry you were duped. If you can't find the ball after a quick search, maybe wait until the changeover and look quickly again. If no luck, replace it with one of like wear. No one gets docked points or games for not finding a ball, no matter who hit it.